Participation Type


Session Title

Readings from Mountains Piled Upon Mountains: New Appalachian Nature Writing

Session Abstract or Summary

Mountains Piled Upon Mountains: New Appalachian Nature Writing edited by Jessica Cory will be released August 2019. This panel will feature several contributors sharing their work from the collection in order to display the important role that nature writing plays in Appalachian literature, as well as to showcase how the genre has evolved from Bartram and other naturalists who followed him. Some of these differences include issues of climate change, environmental degradation, and deforestation. Yet amid such concerning topics, the writers remain optimistic that Appalachia is still a beautiful and valuable place worth celebrating.

Presentation #1 Title

"Take in the Waters: On the Birthplace of Rivers, West Virginia"

Presentation #1 Abstract or Summary

Van Noy's creative nonfiction piece using the waters of West Virginia to foreground the environmental and associated cultural changes within the state, particularly in regards to the future of coal.

At-A-Glance Bio- Presenter #1

Rick Van Noy is a Professor of English at Radford University. He is the author of two books, Surveying the Interior: Literary Cartographers and the Sense of the Place and A Natural Sense of Wonder: Connecting Kids with Nature through the Seasons, which won an award for Outstanding Writing on the Southern Environment from the Southern Environmental Law Center. His writing has appeared in Appalachian Voices, Blue Ridge Country, Orion, and Creative Nonfiction.

Presentation #2 Title

"Poem Written in a Stairwell, Descending," "Reverie with Chestnut Trees," "Appalachian Pastoral"

Presentation #2 Abstract or Summary

Honeycutt's three poems display stark differences in the Appalachian environment, creating very diverse moods for the audience. Through the bliss of a traditional pastoral to the grim realization of deforestation, Honeycutt engages the audience while educating them.

At-A-Glance Bio- Presenter #2

Scott Honeycutt is an assistant professor of English at East Tennessee State University. When he is not teaching, Scott enjoys walking the hills of Appalachia and spending time with his family.

Presentation #3 Title

"How to Avoid the Widow Maker"

Presentation #3 Abstract or Summary

In Minick's creative nonfiction piece, he brings the reader into the woods with him as he fells trees as part of a sustainable landscape project on his land. Along the way, readers receive sage advice and are able meet members of Minick's family, showing that connection to the land is intrinsic to one's connection with others.

At-A-Glance Bio- Presenter #3

Jim Minick is the author of five books, including Fire Is Your Water, a debut novel released Spring 2017. His memoir, The Blueberry Years, won of the Best Nonfiction Book of the Year from the Southern Independent Booksellers Association. His honors include the Jean Ritchie Fellowship in Appalachian Writing, and the Fred Chappell Fellowship at University of North Carolina-Greensboro. His work has appeared in many publications including Poets & Writers, Oxford American, Shenandoah, Orion, San Francisco Chronicle, Encyclopedia of Appalachia, Conversations with Wendell Berry, Appalachian Journal, and The Sun. Currently, he is Assistant Professor at Augusta University and Core Faculty in Converse College’s low-residency MFA program.

Presentation #4 Title

"Kudzu," "In Tennessee I Found A Firefly"

Presentation #4 Abstract or Summary

Reed's poems capture the wonder that many of us experience in the Appalachian outdoors, connecting with his audience while inviting them to join him in seeing the everyday in a new light.

At-A-Glance Bio- Presenter #4

Jeremy Michael Reed is a PhD student in Creative Writing at the University of Tennessee. His poems are published or forthcoming in Public Pool, Still: The Journal, Valparaiso Poetry Review, and elsewhere, including the anthology Bright Bones: Contemporary Montana Writing. He lives in Knoxville, where he is the Editor-in-Chief of Grist: A Journal of the Literary Arts and co-directs The Only Tenn-I-See Reading Series. More of his work can be found at

Presentation #5 Title

“Shooting Rivers and Smoldering Churches: Fire and Rain in Southern Appalachia”

Presentation #5 Abstract or Summary

Hyde examines how climate change has affected western North Carolina, specifically through its dry and rainy seasons, in this creative nonfiction piece. Using a mixture of data and memoir, Hyde makes the climate crisis personable and explains how it manifests in an engaging and even humorous way.

At-A-Glance Bio- Presenter #5

Gene Hyde is a writer and photographer living in Western North Carolina. He has an MA in Appalachian Studies and works as an Appalachian archivist and special collections librarian.

Presentation #6 Title

"Letter to West Virginia, November 2016"

Presentation #6 Abstract or Summary

In Pancake's creative nonfiction work, she expresses her conflicting emotions with the land she was raised on and is now being destroyed, a sentiment many from the Mountain State echo. In this epistolary to the state's environment, Pancake reflects on the myriad ways its peaks and rivers have inspired here and why she chooses to remain.

At-A-Glance Bio- Presenter #6

A native of West Virginia, Ann Pancake is the author of two short story collections, Given Ground and Me and My Daddy Listen to Bob Marley, and a novel, Strange As This Weather Has Been, which was one of Kirkus Review’s Top Ten Fiction Books of the year, won the 2007 Weatherford Prize, and was a finalist for the 2008 Orion Book Award and the 2008 Washington State Book Award. She has also received a Whiting Award, an NEA grant, the Bakeless Prize, and a Pushcart Prize. Fiction and essays have appeared in journals and anthologies like Orion, The Georgia Review, Poets and Writers, and New Stories from the South, the Year’s Best. In 2016, she was the first recipient of the Barry Lopez Visiting Writer in Ethics and the Community Fellowship. She has a PHD in English literature from the University of Washington and teaches for Pacific Lutheran University’s MFA program.

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"Take in the Waters: On the Birthplace of Rivers, West Virginia"

Van Noy's creative nonfiction piece using the waters of West Virginia to foreground the environmental and associated cultural changes within the state, particularly in regards to the future of coal.